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The Long, Cold Winter of your Job Search

January 16th, 2014

After I got married I lived in an apartment with my wife in Pocatello, Idaho.  We started our married life in May and were going to be in Idaho for about a year (we thought).

Winter came.  Idaho winters are cold and brutal.  It wasn’t as bad as the people who lived a couple hours north, but it was way worse than I wanted to experience.  I didn’t spend many winters in cold weather, so going through my first Idaho winter made me wonder why in the world people lived in that horrible weather.   That was almost twenty years ago, and I’ve had many winters like that since then.

A few years ago, after I tried to understand vegetable gardening, I had an epiphany.

Winter is a time when plants and trees get a chance to take a break.  Soil gets to take a break, and even regenerate.  Animals take a break.  Everything takes a break!

I came to learn to cherish this time of taking a break.  Self-reflection and quiet.  Peace and pausing. It is a time for gardeners to plan and prepare.

I was able to see what I thought was bitter and dreary as something necessary, and a part of the cycle.

I’m going to draw a relationship from this analogy to your career (job search, unemployment, etc.).  I’m not suggesting that you NEED to have a period of winter so that you can grow, regenerate, etc.  I want you to figure out how to do that even when you are happily and gainfully employed.

But I want you to think about your period of unemployment differently.  Instead of hating it and wanting it to end, like I did with my Idaho winters, what can you do to live through this time happily?  My time in Idaho would have been different if i didn’t let that time rule my attitude.

You can get through your job search quicker, sure.  There are things you have control over (unlike the weather).  But what can you do right now, during a bout with unemployment, to enjoy and learn and generate and regenerate and prepare?

Some of you should rethink your education and skillset.

Others will contemplate big career changes (new industry, new roles, etc.).

Others know you want to stay in what you were in, but realize it’s time to reconnect with industry contacts.  It’s time and YOU HAVE THE TIME.

I’m not sure what your career winter will be, but what I’ve learned is that if I have to do it again, I’ll look at it differently, and take advantage of the time better.

How about you?

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One response to “The Long, Cold Winter of your Job Search”

  1. Actually, I believe careers, like the earth have seasons. In fact, each job in a career has seasons and every season has its own specific work. Harvests do not just “appear” out of nowhere. As you mentioned, unlike what it looks like on the surface, winter is actually a very active and important time in the cycle of a career, not a time to “lie around”. There is work to be done. Winter is prime time for strategy coffees and game plan making. Spring is on its way so I prepare in the winter. I plan what I want to plant; picture the layout of the beds; dream through the catalog and order the seeds. This is the time to determine direction; make emotional changes; rearrange schedules; discuss changes with the family; file for financial aid (if school is in it). Winter is project management time.

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